writers / writing

Great Closing Lines from Famous Authors

I haven’t put a lot of thought to closing lines in my career as a writer, but I should. These are

great authors

The author writes with brilliance to the bitter end

from the conference I attended recently. See if you agree–or maybe you have your own favorites:

  • So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby)
  • It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far far better rest that I got to than I have ever known (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)
  • “Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” (Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises)
  • After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain. (Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms)
  • “Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” (Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind)
  • Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you? (Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man)

Don’t these make you want to keep reading? Maybe the sequel or the next book from this author? If they can be that strong in their prose and voice at the end of a 100,000-word book, they still have much to teach me.  That first one–from The Great Gatsby–is probably better than the entire book. I can visualize the haunted man fighting to survive against all life and God throws at him. It’s an image that clings to me, even as the days pass. I return to it when my life hits a speed bump.

BTW–I borrowed the image from aboutfamouspeople.com because I love that black shape given to a picture. It’s easy to make in Photoshop by opening the picture and using the hue-and-saturation tool. I might try it myself next time.

BTW2–Do you know where the term ‘bitter end‘ came from?


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One thought on “Great Closing Lines from Famous Authors

  1. Hi, Jacqui! I love the closings you chose. Hemingway’s are my favorites. Started reading his work as a kid, actually, when I was about ten or eleven, and I think he had a huge influence on my own style of writing. I remember both your cited closings, and my copies of both of those novels were well-worn.

    No, I don’t know who first used “bitter end.” What’s the story?

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